Sick leave declines again, for third year in a row

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Norwegians are calling in sick much less frequently than they did a decade ago. New figures from state welfare agency NAV and state statistics bureau SSB  show that sick leave is at its lowest level since 2001.

The portion of the workforce that’s off the job because of illness declined from just over 9 percent in 2003, for example, to 7.4 in the first quarter of this year. The amount of persons on doctor-ordered sick leave sank from 6.1 percent to 5.7 percent, while the amount of persons off work by calling in sick themselves was unchanged at 1.2 percent. Norwegian employees can be away up to three days at full pay  but must have a doctor’s order in order to receive pay beyond the three days.

Labour Minister Hanne Bjurstrøm called the new statistics “very nice” and claimed they show that measures taken to bring down sick leave are working. They include what’s called gradert sykmelding, which allows doctors to place workers on various levels of sick leave and allows workers to still spend some time on the job but not working 100 percent. That’s resulting in workers coming back to work in full more quickly.

“But we’re absolutely not finished yet,” Bjurstrøm said. “We still have work to do.”

Views and News staff